After a three-week layoff 1st XV rugby was resumed at Folkestone with a fixture against Beccehamian RFC
By Alex Ruddock
Whereas Folkestone have only lost once since a humiliating defeat against Beccs last October, the visitors came east having lost their last two matches.
FOLKESTONE 1stXV 34 BECCEHAMIAN 1stXV 15
Saturday 9th February 2019 LONDON 3 SE Report by Alan Schofield.
After a three-week layoff 1st XV rugby was resumed at Folkestone with a fixture against Beccehamian RFC, one of the four teams from the Bromley area in this division. Whereas Folkestone have only lost once since a humiliating defeat against Beccs last October, the visitors came east having lost their last two matches. With a good win, Folkestone knew they had every chance to lift themselves into the top three, irrespective of other results – and they took the opportunity with relish with startlingly good rugby even with the strong wind and heavy pitch conditions following the recent heavy rain.
Beccs have a pantagruelian set of pogonophiliptic forwards that looked fit and strong, outweighing the lighter weight, (but better looking!), Folkestone pack – and so the question of stamina was to be an interesting feature of the game.
Callum Palmieri saved a first minute situation caused by a fumbled pass and an early threat, but his touch found safety inside the Beccs half. But then Beccs had their own threat to deal with as a penalty kick put them inside their 22 metre area, the line-out ball was safely taken by Rob Godden and Beccs, surprisingly, could not cope with the ensuing maul as the forwards powered their way to the line when Colby Hayward broke through the middle of the defensive wall to stretch out and touch down after only 7 minutes. The conversion was missed, into the wind, from a wide angle. 5 – 0.
It was apparent in the opening 15 minutes that both teams showed good attacking potential –therefore defence was to be crucial. Beccs had faltered but found success when, after a long period in possession, they moved the ball out left and found the extra man to sprint down the wing to run around and score under the posts to give them an early 5 – 7 lead.
Folkestone had another early setback when injury prone Steve Doughty suffered a wrist injury, but Connor Leather was on hand on the substitutes bench to take his place, earlier than planned. The Stones were pushed back again by good attacking rugby, but one mistake saw Liam Trinder and Adam Tolman put Beccs right back into defence. The wind was causing a deal of uncertainly by both teams, but it was Folkestone who saw that the short, high box kick had better results than the long hoof. Again, the Liam Trinder and Adam Tolman combination broke through, almost to the line, but Beccs killed the ball and suffered when Seyhan Fell easily put over the resultant penalty.
8 – 7.
A self-inflicted head injury to a Beccs player held up play for 6 minutes, and not only was he helped off the field, but he was yellow carded for his tackle on Chris Petley. Connor Leather found Seyhan Fell lurking on the left wing and Mark Ip-Lloyd went hard on the right wing – fully occupying the Beccs defence. But they had no answer when Jon Morton made ground and put a beautifully balanced low kick into space on the right – where Seyhan Fell, always ready and alert, sprinted forward to grab the ball in the try zone and score near the corner flag. He then, against a strong wind, converted this to lift the score to 15 – 7.
With possession and territory equally shared this was a match where the defensive walls had to be broken. Folkestone’s back row of Liam Trinder, Chris Petley and Dave Ballard helped to cover everything at close quarters, and Kyle Deakin with John Eustace blocked the elusive and speedy backs with shuddering effectiveness. Pedro Girini-Casares, now becoming more in tune with the English game, was proving to be strong against a three stone heavier opposing prop, but it was Mat Roots, ever dependable, who excited the large crowd with a storming run for 20 metres before three men pulled him down.
Beccs converted a close-to-the-posts penalty to bring the score back to 15 – 10, but then a move of pure brilliance changed the game. Defending a long kick on the 22-metre line Callum Palmieri fed a long pass to Adam Tolman who saw a chink - sprinted, side-stepped, dodged and broke clear with the ever alert Seyhan Fell in support to take the pass, beating the last man of a bewildered defence to touch down near the posts. An easy conversation saw a half-time score at 22 – 10, against the wind.
Jordan Godden replaced Dave Ballard for the restart, but the crowd then saw why Beccs have occupied one of the top three slots in the league throughout the season. Wave after wave of attacks were produced by both the Beccs forwards and the three-quarters – but Chris Petley, Rob Godden and Mat Roots excelled with crunching capability. Folkestone conceded penalties as Beccs pressed closer and closer – eventually managing to score a try through a melee of players following a five-metre line out. The conversion kick came down from high onto the top of the crossbar and bounced the wrong way 22 – 15.
In tough playing conditions there were signs that Folkestone were beginning to gain the ascendency. Liam Trinder, Callum Palmieri and Jon Morton were ever forward looking whilst the front five forwards held the scrums and Colby Hayward and Rob Godden were secure in the line-outs – against taller and bigger players. And when Beccs missed an easy penalty under the posts by a scuffed mis-kick the home supporters began to think that The Stones were on the way to victory. The opponents were further depressed when they saw Adam Tolman’s kick from inside his own half bounce and bounce close to the touch line, eventually going dead 5 metres from the try line.
Liam Trinder intercepted a passing move, passed to John Eustace who, with Adam Tolman at his shoulder, was not able to make the final pass to create a certain try. Jon Morton made it to the line but was thwarted and now Beccs were forced into all out defence against a confident and boisterous Folkestone – over-boisterous for Jordan Godden as he was shown the yellow card for a robust tackle.
Kyle Deakin and Mark Ip-Lloyd made Beccs cover hard on right wing. Adam Tolman went down with bad cramp but carried on. Callum Palmieri set Beccs back with a long fly kick, but Kyle Deakin made a try saving tackle from the retaliation. Then, after a long downfield kick, Callum Palmieri snapped up a loose ball, fed Seyhan Fell who in turn found Adam Tolman in the clear and who was able to limp over the try line still suffering from cramp. This was the fourth and bonus-point try - well-earned and well-played and a 29 – 15 point lead.
And in an extended injury time Adam Tolman had to be relieved. Jordan Godden went to scrum half and Callum Palmieri went out on the right wing. A scrum in the last minute saw the ball pass through Kyle Deakin and John Eustace. The final pass was at ground level but Callum Palmieri scooped it up and sprinted 15 metres, too fast for a tired defence for the final try and a superb win against formidable opposition. The conversion was missed. FINAL SCORE: 34 – 15.
Coach Darren Molloy has every reason to smile as his players have responded to his inspiration to combine to make a skilful and attractive team – now in third place in the league table, but with four other teams within a point of them.
Team: Adam Tolman; Seyhan Fell (Captain), John Eustace, Kyle Deakin, Mark Ip-Lloyd; Jon Morton, Callum Palmeiri; Mat Roots, Steve Doughty, Pedro Girini-Casares; Rob Godden, Colby Hayward; Chris Petley, Dave Ballard, Liam Trinder.
Subs: Connor Leather, Kieran Smith, Jordan Godden.
Scorers: Colby Hayward 5; Seyhan Fell 3, 5, 2, 5, 2, 2; Adam Tolman 5; Callum Palmieri 5.